Big bird flies by Kincardine

Section: 
News

By Kristen Shane

Andy ‘Kruz’ Kruzynski was on his morning walk Thursday, near the Kincardine cemetery, when he saw a black, “stealth-looking” military jet flying overhead.

It looked as big as a Boeing 747, he said.

“We’re talking huge.”

He stopped and watched it cut through the sky above.

Kruzynski wasn’t the only one transfixed by the aircraft sweeping the Kincardine skyline.

A crowd of cars stopped by the Kincardine airport, where the 174-foot-long C-17 Globemaster did three passes at about 9:30 a.m., swooping as low as about 50 feet from the ground.

“(Vehicles) filled the parking lot and pulled off to park on the highway,” recalled airport manager Blake Evans, shortly after the event. Local police even came out to keep traffic flowing.

Evans got a call from the Canadian air force plane’s captain when the aircraft was still 50 or 60 kilometres from the airport.

“It’s simply a safety thing,” said Evans. “An airplane that size could have caused problems to smaller ones.”

The Globemaster is a big bird. Sitting empty, the plane weighs 282,500 pounds or slightly more than 128,000 kilograms, according to Evans. That’s as heavy as a herd of more than 20 large African elephants. It takes four jet engines, each with about 40,440 pounds of thrust, to propel the aircraft off the ground.

It’s a transport plane that can normally carry up to 102 troops or equipment as big as a tank, he said.

A CC-177 Globemaster III transport plane, the Canadian-designated C-17 Globemaster, arrives at the 8 Wing Trenton airbase in August of 2007. The same type of plane cut across the Kincardine skyline Thursday. (Photo by Corporal Tom Parker, 8 Wing Imaging Section, courtesty Department of National Defence)

The plane spotted in Kincardine was en route from Trenton to North Bay. The captain and his crew were doing a training flight. They wanted to use the Kincardine airport to practise approaching its runway, although the plane never landed.

“All airports have different approaches, different procedures,” explained Evans. “So being familiar (with) different approaches…this is a part of training.”

The captain told him how the plane would manoeuvre and turn upon approaching the airport.

“I asked them to turn left and head over town so people in town could see the plane,” said Evans.

The phone had been ringing ever since, he said about an hour after the fly-by.

Kruzynski thought the plane’s presence could have something to do with the nearby Bruce nuclear plant.

“I guess people are inherently concerned in this area, when police forces or military show up. But no, it had nothing to do with the nuclear plant,” said Evans.

Other large Canadian air force planes have flown past Kincardine from time to time, he said. Earlier this year, Evans’ phones were again ringing off the hook when town residents heard two CF-18 Hornets roar through the sky on another training exercise.

The Globemaster is a relatively new addition to the Canadian air force’s fleet, said Evans.

“We’re fortunate that the captain…saw fit to do a couple turns around Kincardine.”